Saturday, January 07, 2012


Post-round interview with Martin Laird who is lying joint second with a six-under-par 67 after the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii.

CHRIS REIMER: Martin, second time playing here, and you seem to be playing this course really well. I think you've played five rounds here, all five under par. Want to talk about the round today and what you like about playing this golf course
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, obviously very pleased with my round today, especially after my start, 2 over through 3, and the wind was not exactly what you want. Pretty much the only two bad shots I hit all day were on 2 and 3, hit it in the bunker both holes off the tee as far as my approach shots, missed kind of short putts for par and then after that played great, really controlled my ball well in the wind.
It's kind of a golf course you hit a lot of shots you don't normally hit. A couple times I had to hit wedge from like 80 yards, 79 yards, a 9 iron from 100 yards, just chipping under the wind and take the spin off it. We were talking about that, you don't really hit any normal shots out there. So it's kind of fun in that sense.
But I obviously got it going the back nine. The difference from the back nine to the front nine was I started leaving myself uphill putts for birdie. I'd rather be 12 feet below the hole than four feet above the hole around here. You can play less break and give it a hit going up the hill, but when you get above the hole you've got to be very careful. That was really the difference between the front nine and the back nine. I didn't hit it any better on the back nine, it's just where I left myself was below the hole more than having breaking putts.
Q. I suspect you grew up playing in the wind. Are you comfortable with that?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, I grew up playing in the wind, and then moved away from the wind 11 years ago. Most of my golfing life I've not actually been playing in the wind. I got to give a little credit to my coach. He came out just before we came out here. I really didn't my wind game has not been very good the last few years and we figured something out at the end of last year, actually at Chevron, and he came out to Scottsdale before I came out here and fixed a couple things in my swing. Right away my punch shots and wind game has got a lot better than it has been the last couple years. I'm excited about that, and it will allow me to play better in the Open and tournaments like that going forward.
Q. You mentioned Chevron. Did you learn anything specific?
MARTIN LAIRD: When I get in the wind, quite a lot into the wind, I'll miss it left too much. I hit too many hooks, trying to hit punches, trying to keep it down. I've always been a bit of a shut faced player going back, and we really worked on what to me feels like fanning it way open on the way back, setting my wrists a little earlier and fanning it way open, and that way I can control the club face a little better coming down and hit little cuts or draws or whatever shot is needed in the wind.
You know, it's kind of a strange feeling for me. As I said, I've always been a shut faced player going back, to feel like I'm fanning it open. But it's been working, so it starts to feel good pretty quickly when the results are good, and the shots start coming out better.
Q. How much more comfortable do you feel here this year after having played here last year?
MARTIN LAIRD: I was here two years ago, but the
Q. The last two years.
MARTIN LAIRD: But yeah, I felt comfortable here two years ago. I like the golf course. I think it's a fun place to start the year, not just the fact that it's in Maui, but the golf course, it's there's wide fairways and big greens. You can just kind of hit driver every hole, and you know you've got to make a lot of birdies and play kind of aggressive. A couple of drivable par 4s, things like that. It's a course for me I don't know why, I just like hitting a lot of drivers, and it sets up well for me.
Q. Jonathan was 6 under through 8 and then came back a little bit. Is this the kind of course where you can really get on a roll like that? Are there a lot of opportunities like that?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, I saw he was 6 under through 8. That was very impressive because I wouldn't say the front nine is a nine you can get on a roll. It's the back nine you can really get on a roll. 6 under through 8 today in that wind was good because that front nine was playing a lot tougher I thought than the back nine. But yeah, it's a course you can definitely get on a bit of a roll. As I said, there's two drivable par 4s and all the par 5s are reachable if you hit good drives. It's definitely a course you can make a lot of birdies on.
Q. Was the wind dropping off a little bit did you think in the afternoon?
MARTIN LAIRD: No, it was the same all day pretty much I thought. I can't say we were out there thinking it was blowing less or more. Standing in 18 fairway there it was blowing pretty hard off the right. I wouldn't say it was dropping off. If it did, it wasn't very much at all.
Q. When are we going to see you back in Europe?
MARTIN LAIRD: I don't know right now. I've not confirmed anything, but it's not going to be for a little while yet. I'm going to play the first quarter to third of the year over here, and then head back. Maybe the first one will be the PGA at Wentworth. That's probably going to be the first one that I'll go to back in Europe.
Q. Just wondering if you let your thoughts drift at all to the Ryder Cup.
MARTIN LAIRD: Not when I was out there, no. I mean, it's definitely in my mind this year. That's one of my obviously major goals. But no, I'm not out there I'm going to I'm sure it'll get different when it comes closer and we get to the end of the summer and it's coming down to the last few events.
But I'm just going to go out and play and trying not to think about it right now. It's too early to start thinking about that. If you asked me this question at the start of September or something when I'm right on the edge, I'm sure I'll be thinking about it.
Q. How many different faces have you seen on that golf course? Has the wind been the same any day?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, it's been the same every day for us. That's one thing that's different; two years ago the wind was moving around because I remember No. 1 was playing into the wind and off the left a couple of days, and No. 9 was straight downwind, the complete opposite for that this week. But every day, I got in here Tuesday night, and I played Wednesday, Thursday, and then obviously today, and it's been exact same wind direction, give or take a few degrees.
But it's been pretty much the same all week. And if it does switch, it's a totally different golf course. That's another thing that's fun about this place. Some of the harder holes right now all of a sudden turn into the easy holes and vice versa. It's really two different courses when the wind switches.




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